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Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 12:00 am

Presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, will speak at Penn State on April 11 in response to a "sizeable" demand from students, his campaign announced yesterday.

Paul will be speaking at 5:30 p.m. in 100 Thomas, where he will address "freedom and the Constitution," said Jesse Benton, communications director for Paul.

The demand from Penn State students was "more than we can keep track of," Benton said, adding that Paul enjoys speaking to young people.

Additional specifics about the event will be released at the end of the week.

Penn State College Libertarians President Alex Weller said his group has been requesting a visit from Paul for more than a year.

"It's important to reach as many students about the liberties and freedoms that are slowly being taken away," he said. "I hope that students will come with open ears and will listen to Dr. Paul's message and consider voting for him for president."

Many of Paul's positions revolve around the idea of less governmental regulation. As a presidential candidate, Paul has proposed lowering taxes and instituting less government control over civil liberties, Weller said.

Jack Vickrey, vice president for the Penn State College Republicans, said he thinks Paul will get involved with the audience while speaking.

"Having seen Ron Paul speak before, he will most likely involve the crowd whether it's taking questions from the crowd or walking through the crowd and doing a little meet and greet afterwards," he said.

Mike Policelli, vice president of the College Libertarians, said Paul's campaign has been in "full force" in Pennsylvania, adding that four tons of campaign material have been distributed. Paul would be in the best position to gain the Republican nomination if Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had to drop out, Policelli added.

"Even though a lot of people like to ignore it and think that John McCain is a shoe-in, a lot of things could happen between now and November," he said. "Presidential candidates have dropped out of the race for all sort of reasons."

One of Paul's strong positions is his stance on the Iraq War, Policelli said.

"Ron Paul is unique in that his view on Iraq is extremely well-defined and is extremely well-researched," he said.

Paul has said the invasion of Iraq was made under "false pretenses without a constitutionally-required declaration of war," and he would bring the troops home immediately, according to ronpaul2008.com.

Ross Ulbricht (graduate-material sciences), who attempted to run as a delegate for Paul, said he wants to see lines out the doors of the Thomas Building.

"The man is eloquent. He speaks very succinctly and straightforwardly and is very insightful and wise," he said. "There's a lot to learn from him and his message of what it means to be a U.S. citizen and what it means to be a free individual."

Ulbricht said he supports Paul because he is one of the few politicians who understands what the United States was founded on.

"He doesn't compromise his integrity as a politician and he fights quite diligently to restore the principles that our country was founded on," he said.

Samantha Miller, Penn State College Democrats spokeswoman, said even though she isn't a Republican, she is still interested in seeing Paul speak.

"I do believe that the university is a place where all different views and all different opinions can be brought to the forefront," she said. "Because he has such Libertarian views, there are issues that Democrats agreed with him on and issues Republicans agree with him on."

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